There's gonna be a few changes around here ...
In that vein, today we're going to take a quick look at how the Yankees players have done in the Arizona Fall League, and pass along a few things an American League scout said about a couple of the pitchers.
All of New York's players are on the Surprise Rafters, who, after a strong start, find themselves in the cellar of the of the AFL West, behind the Peoria Javelinas. On an individual level, however, there are certainly a few standouts.
First and foremost is outfielder Colin Curtis, who spent parts of this season and last with the Thunder. Overall, Curtis, who was a moderate power threat in Trenton, boasts a batting line .377/.456/1.122. Nearly half of his 26 hits have gone for extra bases (three home runs), and he's racked up 14 RBIs in the process.
Not bad for a guy who some project as a fourth outfielder at best.
The other outstanding Yankees performance belongs to third baseban Brandon Laird, who has not seen any time in Trenton yet, but could be there in 2010. After smacking 13 home runs all season with Tampa, the Cypress CC alumnus has six with Suprise. He's hitting .337/.406/1.046 with Surprise, a marked improvement that could be attributed to either small sample size or facing inexperienced (if talented) pitching.
On the pitching side, most believe the most talented of the Yankees crop is reliever Michael Dunn. In fact, one scout told me this morning that Dunn is going to be "better than Phil Coke" and could be a 7th-inning guy instead of just a situational left-hander.
A former outfielder, Dunn sits at around 93-94 with his fastball and pairs it with a good breaking pitch. He does tend to get into a bit of trouble with his control, but that should subside with experience.
Ian Kennedy, who missed most of 2009 recovering from an aneuyrsm in his pitching arm, has also gotten some innings under his belt in Arizona. With the Rafters, Kennedy has gone 1-1 with a 4.74 ERA. He's given up a hit per inning pitched, but has walked just five in 24 2/3 frames. A scout who saw Kennedy pitch says he is "100 percent recovered" from the surgery and looks the same as ever.
Zach Kroenke and Grant Duff are both also with Surprise, but neither has had spectacular results. Duff has a 2.89 ERA with five walks in 9 1/3 innings, and Kroenke has a 5.28 ERA and has allowed two home runs in 15 1/3 innings.